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Soccer Dreams: Playing the Seattle Sounders FC Way Hardcover – April 1, 2011
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"Rarely in the history of the beautiful game does a perfect soccer player come along. But as Todo, Coach Dan, and the rest of the players in Soccer Dreams learn, if we work together and make the most of the varied talents and strengths that each of us brings to the pitch, we can come close to creating the perfect team. Drawing on the collective wisdom of the players and coaches of the Seattle Sounders FC, Soccer Dreams provides an invaluable platform for learning about teamwork, fair play, and the joys kids can find on the soccer field." --Tim Murray, Longtime Pacific Northwest Soccer Coach and Seattle Sounders FC Golden Scarf Recipient
Young readers can immerse themselves in the story of Todo, a 10-year-old boy who emigrates from Kenya to Seattle, where playing on a youth soccer team opens the door to friendship and acceptance. Interspersed throughout this fictional story are photos and profiles of Seattle Sounders FC team members from all over the world who have made their own childhood soccer dreams come true. --Allegra Abramo, Alaska Airlines Magazine
Soccer Dreams by Clare Hodgson Meeker is the perfect blend of entertainment and education.
Todo moves from Kenya, Africa to Seattle, Washington where his soccer skills catch the eye of Coach Dan who invites him to join his team. With tons of spirit, Todo helps Coach Dan build a winning team that works together.
I don't know how the Lil' Princess discovered soccer, but she did. She continues to work hard to develop her skills, spending a week at a British soccer camp visiting our area over the summer, and practicing at home whenever she can. It's been a good season for her so far. This is why I requested to review Soccer Dreams. It ended up being a great source of inspiration for her.
This book blends the fictional story of Todo moving from Africa to America and getting a chance to play on a soccer team with profiles of the current MLS Seattle Sounders FC, in addition to strategy and teamwork tips. It's a wonderful book. Numerous color photographs are included, along with black and white drawings for the fictional portion of the story. Some Sounders share their favorite warm-ups, the coach talks about developing players' strengths, and the goalkeeper shares what goalies think about and offers his advice.
I'm sure Soccer Dreams will hold a special place in the Lil' Princess' bookshelf. --The Children's and Teens' Book Connection blog
From the Author
Two years ago I was commissioned to write a children's book about the San Diego Chargers football team calledCharge Ahead for San Diego Public TV as part of a community outreach project. That gave me the idea of doing a book about a popular team in my own community. The fact that the Sounders FC players could accomplish so much in their first season, coming from around the world, speaking different languages and being used to different styles of play, was inspiring. What were their teamwork building strategies and how might kids learn from them? I came up with a fictional story about a young soccer player who moves from Kenya to Seattle and helps his coach build a winning team drawing on tips and strategies from the Sounders coach and players. The book includes profiles and photos of the Sounders FC players, along with black-and-white illustrations of the story.
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I will say both my grandchildren are advanced readers, so I suspect this book is tailored to middle school children. Only con, that I can see, is that the $4.99 cost limits me to the amount of books that I will be able to purchase.
The book follows Todo, a young boy who moves with his family from his old home in Kenya to a new one in Seattle. He loves soccer and feels a special connection with the Sounders from the beginning, and in Seattle he is quickly sought out by the coach of a local team. On the team Todo makes friends, helps the others learn teamwork and cooperation, and navigates a rivalry with an antagonistic boy who is also in his class at school.
When Todo strikes up a friendship with a player for the local girls team, Todo's sister Adila wonders if their parents would allow her to play on a team as well. Throughout the story, Todo's skill and love of the game helps him find friends and community, and to forge a special connection with his new home. Meeker's writing makes this simple story heartfelt.
The main story is interspersed with short profiles of different players on the Seattle Sounders, including favorite position and a short quote from each. If you are a Sounders fan, you will find these profiles interesting, but for reader who doesn't follow the Sounders, the profiles may distract from the central story of Todo and his love of soccer.
For boys and girls enthusiastic about soccer, sports, or the Seattle Sounders, this book is a shoe-in. It effectively communicates the fun and importance sports can have, and deftly touches on issues of sexism and racism that middle-schoolers may have to confront without becoming moralistic or overly dark. Most importantly, young readers will come away from the book with the message that sports can be a way to forge connections across social boundaries and make dreams come true.
Well-written and touching, "Soccer Dreams" could serve as a starting point for a conversation about some serious real-world issues, or simply a fun way to share a love of soccer. Either way, it's a winner.
I'm sure Soccer Dreams will hold a special place in my soccer player's bookshelf.
I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I was not compensated for in any way.